Souvenir shopping on the French Riviera
ART & ANTIQUES
A trip to the French Riviera remains, for most folks, a once in a lifetime dream vacation. So, when you find yourself jet-setting in locales that are the well-known playgrounds of the rich and famous, how do you purchase souvenirs at reasonable prices?
Amid the fast cars, palatial buildings and massive yachts, buying a T-shirt for 50 euros seems like a cheap alternative in Monte Carlo or St. Tropez. What do you do if you are looking to collect something of significance at reasonable prices? Stick to your budget and shop like a pro.
When shopping for souvenirs, it is important to learn about the place you are visiting. Learn about its history, culture, customs and try to understand what makes it famous before you arrive. For instance, St. Tropez came of age in the 1950s when Bridget Bardot and other A List celebs vacationed there. Today, it remains an enviable vacation locale. The most famous film industry insiders, captains of industry, and the ultra-wealthy regard St. Tropez as a hot spot. It follows that art and items associated with historic movie stars are easy to find souvenirs from St. Tropez.
St. Tropez is located within the French region of Provence. Provence is known for its fine art painters and world class sculptors, colorful functional pottery pieces, country French toile and other printed textiles, melodic cicada bugs and lavender fields. If you want to collect something traditional from St. Tropez, take home an inexpensive lavender sachet (about 4 euros) or a printed cotton tablecloth (about 25 euros). They are fine reminders of this chic town on the French Riviera and they won’t break your bank account.
In Monte Carlo (a.k.a., Charles’ Mount), Monaco, souvenirs associated with Princess Grace, Prince Rainier, their famous children, and other members of the famous Grimaldi family are always popular. Objects that reflect the history of circa 1950s Hollywood starlet turned princess, nee Grace Kelly, are immortalized in all types of Monte Carlo souvenirs ranging from posters to mugs to cabinet plates.
At the cathedral in Monte Carlo–the site of the royal wedding in 1956–visitors will not only have an opportunity to pay their respects at the tombs of the prince and princess but they will be able to view a litany of 16th and 17th century French paintings on display there.
Of course, Monte Carlo is home to the exciting Grand Prix. Collectibles relating to the great race come in many shapes, sizes and price ranges. Caps, keychains and magnets featuring the world’s fastest cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Buggatti are available in Monte Carlo’s tourist shops at very reasonable prices.
If you are traveling to the French Riviera, remember to download your French translation app, bring cash in euros to negotiate like a pro and know the history of the region so you can capitalize on the most appropriate souvenirs.
Dr. Lori Verderame is the author and award-winning TV personality who appears on HISTORY channel’s #1 show, The Curse of Oak Island. With a Ph.D. from Penn State University and experience appraising 20,000 antiques every year and many online via photos, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events to worldwide audiences. Visit www.DrLoriV.com/events or call (888) 431-1010.